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Erlotinib Side Effects

Common Side Effects

Erlotinib has been studied extensively in clinical trials. In these studies, the side effects that occurred in a group of people taking the drug were carefully documented and compared to those that occurred in a group of people taking a placebo pill (a "sugar pill" with no active ingredients). As a result, it was possible to see what side effects occurred, how often they appeared, and how they compared to the placebo.
In these studies, the most common erlotinib side effects included:
  • Rash -- in up to 75 percent of people
  • Fatigue -- up to 73 percent
  • Nausea -- up to 60 percent
  • Diarrhea -- up to 54 percent
  • Loss of appetite -- up to 52 percent
  • Abdominal pain (stomach pain) -- up to 46 percent
  • Vomiting -- up to 42 percent
  • Shortness of breath -- up to 41 percent
  • Weight loss -- up to 39 percent
  • Infection -- up to 39 percent
  • Body swelling (edema) -- up to 37 percent.
Other common reactions, occurring in 3.9 to 36 percent of people, included:
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Constipation
  • Bone pain
  • Mouth pain, sores, and inflammation
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Depression
  • Heartburn or indigestion
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Hair loss
  • Itching
  • Anxiety
  • Pricking, tingling, or numbing sensations of the skin
  • Gas
  • Uncontrollable shaking with a high fever
  • Infection of the lining of the eyelids (conjunctivitis)
  • Dry eyes
  • Acne
  • Other skin reactions, such as redness, dry skin, and inflammation
  • Infection around the nails, which may cause redness, pain, and swelling around the nails.
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Erlotinib Medication Information

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